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e-Journal

 

Recent Tensions between Russia and the West
(Released May 2008)

 
  by Fiona Allison  

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Glossary

British Council: An international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It is in fact a registered charity and has offices in over 100 countries around the world.

Gazprom: One of the world's largest gas companies. The Russian government owns approximately half of the company. Its board of directors contains a number of government officials; the most recent chairman was Dmitry Medvedev.

MI5: Britain's security service, responsible for protecting the UK against covertly organised threats to national security, including terrorism, espionage and weapons of mass destruction.

NGOs: Or non-governmental organisations, for example the British Council. These can range from charities such as Oxfam to such organisations as the World Bank. They are affiliated to countries rather than governments although a lot of them are international.

Orange Revolution: Took place in Ukraine after the 2004 presidential elections. The runner up, Viktor Yuschenko, took to the streets of Kiev in 10 days of peaceful protests claiming the elections were rigged in favour of the Russian backed candidate. A rerun was ordered and Mr. Yuschenko won. Orange was the colour theme of his election campaign.

OSCE: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It is the largest regional security organisation in the world with 56 participating states worldwide. It deals with three main areas of security: politico-military, the economy and the environment.

PACE: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It works with organisations such as the OSCE and is an advisory committee which investigates issues of human rights violations, electoral fraud and legal issues throughout Europe.

Radioactive polonium 210: A rare chemical element which is highly radioactive and can occur in uranium ore; it is highly unstable thus limiting its use. Polonium is highly lethal in the smallest doses; in fact less than 1 microgram can be fatal if ingested or inhaled as it cannot penetrate the skin. It was reported that around 10 micrograms were found in Alexander Litvinenko.

USSR: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics included not just Russia but its former Soviet republics which are now independent, such as Azerbaijan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Estonia and Georgia to name a few examples. It was initially established in 1924 and existed until 1991.